The fact that childhood cancer is, thankfully, a rare disease belies the fact that it is the leading cause of disease-related death in U.S. children, age 1 to 19.  The fact that it is a rare disease also belies the fact the number of people with a direct stake in expanding research into pediatric cancer is quite large and extends well beyond the small number of children with cancer and ...

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At the national conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), I got to hear Hillary Clinton talk about the AAP's partnership with her Too Small to Fail campaign. It made me happy -- and sad. The partnership is a great idea. It's all about improving early childhood literacy, which is way more crucial than most people realize. It's not just about an income gap when we talk about the ...

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While studying for my recertification exam as required by the American Board of Pediatrics, I came across this question:

 A 7-year-old girl is having difficulty establishing relationships with other children despite repeated opportunities to do so. The girl prefers to stay near her mother or her teacher and will avoid other children. She sometimes cries and can be difficult to calm down after being dropped off at school, so her mother frequently remains ...

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Ebola is a scary topic; there’s no doubt about that. With the onslaught of media coverage that has no end in sight, it’s likely that older children have already heard of the Ebola outbreak or will hear about it in the near future. The question is, what can we do to help our kids work through the confusing and frightening messages they see on television? Here are some suggestions to help ...

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A few years ago, I was doing a summer internship in which I looked at health outcomes for hospitalized patients. I sat in an office and read about patients with issues like high blood pressure and cholesterol. At a certain point, I realized that the reports on their outcomes were interesting, but the real solution to the problems I was studying was happening outside my window. My window overlooked a ...

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Did you know that your digestive tract contains over 400 different types of bacteria? This complex ecosystem is called intestinal microflora. The concentration of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract increases dramatically moving from the stomach towards the colon. In humans, the intestinal microflora is vital in many important functions including digestion of nutrients and prevention of infection. Disruption of the “normal flora” can lead to many problems including diarrhea, bloating, ...

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With all the news about enterovirus 68 sending hundreds of children to hospitals, it's easy to panic when you hear about a case in your neighborhood -- or, even worse, if your child starts coughing. But please, don't panic. This virus has certainly caused trouble and tragedy. But enteroviruses are incredibly common, causing 10-15 million illnesses a year -- and usually, those illnesses are minor. This one, for reasons we ...

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Polypharmacy, or use of multiple psychiatric drugs, for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on the rise. A recent study compared treatment with basic therapy (stimulants plus parent training) with augmented therapy (those two plus risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic). The study concluded that treatment with risperidone was superior. When children show dramatic improvements in behavior on risperidone, now being prescribed with increasing frequency for ADHD and a range ...

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This weekend the kids and I had our influenza immunizations. There is always a difficult lead up as Oliver has severe anxiety around every medical procedure. An EKG (painless heart rhythm test) and a throat swab cause extreme fear and often tears and anything with a needle, well, let’s just say that’s on a whole different level of terror and emotional pain. I remind myself that his anxiety is a normal response ...

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As practicing pediatric gastroenterologists, my colleagues and I remove a fair number of esophageal and intestinal foreign bodies (i.e., things kids accidentally swallow). A couple of years ago, several physicians across the country began noticing serious injuries in children who swallowed high-powered magnets. The issue was raised in an email forum for pediatric gastroenterologists and the response was overwhelming. There were hundreds of cases -- throughout the world, as we later ...

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